In seeking to address the question of how to become a diplomat in Nigeria, we will first explain who a diplomat is. Diplomats are individuals who are well trained and skilled in handling the country’s affairs abroad. Nigerian diplomats after having undergone training are deployed to their countries of assignment where they are required to protect the image and interest of Nigeria through utmost dedication to service. Such countries where these diplomats are deployed to are allies of Nigeria. Diplomats cannot be posted to a hostile country as they would most likely experience hostility.
The journey to becoming a diplomat requires patience and tenacity. This is because, as representatives of Nigeria abroad, they are the extension of the country’s image. A negative perception about a diplomat will automatically mean a negative image for Nigeria. Diplomats therefore undergo special training to groom them into the standard required by Nigeria.
Which People Constitute Diplomats?
There are varied groups of individuals with related professions who undergo training to become diplomats. These individuals are classified into envoys, ambassadors, ministers, and charge d’ affaires. Within the diplomatic ranks are several other sub-divisions that denote the seniority. Diplomats usually serve for some time in their countries of assignment before being redeployed to other countries depending on the availability of vacancies.
Likely Courses to Study to Become a Diplomat
There are certain career paths you are required to take to realize your dream of becoming a diplomat. A first degree in history or political science are usually preferred. Some other social courses can be accepted. Diplomats usually carry out a significant part of their duties outside their offices. A diplomat might seek areas of cultural and economic partnership between his host country and Nigeria. Some other related functions aimed at promoting the image of Nigeria positively are carried out.
Attend the Foreign Service Academy
Located in Lagos and Abuja, the foreign service academy trains interested individuals and imparts the necessary skills and knowledge required to perform satisfactorily on the job. As a student of the Foreign Service Academy, you are provided with all the necessary training that covers every area of foreign relations including the theory and practice of diplomacy.
As a student of the Foreign Service Academy, you will be addressed as a student officer. The Foreign Service Academy is a department of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Component Training Courses
As a student officer of the Foreign Service Academy, some of the courses to be taught include the art of effective communication including plus the skills of usage of English language. Others include computer knowledge, the teaching of UN approved languages that include Arabic, French and Spanish.
Some Characteristics of Diplomats
Being a diplomat requires that you possess certain qualities. Some of these qualities are natural while others are learnt during training. These are some of the basic characteristics a diplomat is expected to possess;
Be a Good Negotiator
This characteristic is very essential in diplomacy. Possessing this skill will greatly help in performing the roles of the office. As a good negotiator, the interest of the country is always held in the highest esteem and protected through effective negotiation skills.
Loyalty is an essential characteristic of a diplomat. Without loyalty, a diplomat is likely to dole out confidential information of national importance to other others. This attribute is an everyday need in the busy working life of a diplomat.
In a situation where a diplomat finds himself/herself at a cross-roads with emerging policy that might be in disagreement with what the diplomat feels is consistent, such diplomat “diplomatically” argues the point, trying to point out key issues that may prove detrimental to the interest of the country and the mission. In a situation that he/she looses out of the argument, then he can decide to either resign or accept the policy change.
Diplomats are always on the lookout for any policy opportunities. Whenever these rear their heads, they are swooped upon to the advantage of the country. To have the ability to recognize opportunities, a diplomat must have an eye for detail in addition to an analytical mind. Having these characteristics can either be inborn or taught. Whatever the case, knowing when to take advantage of situation is very important.